About Maryann Fernandez and Philanthropy Indaba

Maryann is Founder & President of Philanthropy Indaba, a unique consultancy that creates exclusive, customized field trips, journeys and service/internship opportunities to enhance philanthropic initiatives through experiential learning. Whether it is across town, across the country, or across the world, Maryann develops experiences for individuals and small groups to go out into the field and gain tremendous insight and understanding on critical issues, local challenges, theories of change and models of success.  She specializes in identifying synergies between groups and nurturing partnerships.

Maryann was recently a strategic consultant to Educate Girls Globally, an organization which utilizes community empowerment and partnerships with Indian state governments to get and keep girls in school. Their program is currently being scaled from 50 to 500 schools by the Government of Rajasthan. She has provided consulting services to world-renown non-profit, Ashoka, Innovators for the Public, a 25+ year old organization that has funded over 1,800 social entrepreneurs worldwide. She also helped launch and establish a private network of ultra-affluent philanthropists which included 150+ families.  Her primary responsibilities included program development, recruitment of new families through institutional partnerships, and marketing. Events featured prominent speakers including Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, Dr. Vartan Gregorian, The Carnegie Corporation, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, The Earth Institute, Queen Noor, Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, Larry Brilliant, Google.org and Bill Moyers.

In advising financial organizations seeking to better position themselves in the wealth management industry, Maryann has designed and managed educational events for affluent families, family businesses and their advisors. Clients include financial services firms, industry associations and family offices.

In 2000, Maryann co-founded Shaking the Tree Foundation (STT), whose mission is to use storytelling to positively transform the individual’s relationship to wealth, family and society. STT developed the Living Case Study, a workshop which utilizes professionally executed theatrical productions to discuss challenges in affluent families including family dynamics, psychology of money and philanthropy. Maryann produces and co-authors every play and workshop.

Maryann was formerly Vice President, Family Education Services and Senior Marketing Representative at the Harris Private Bank, Chicago.  With Harris Bank from 1998 – 2002, Maryann oversaw the development and strategic direction of educational events designed to address the issues and opportunities in wealth management. With Harris Bank’s parent company, Bank of Montreal, Maryann spearheaded one of the first private bank cross-border initiatives by marketing and introducing educational wealth management events to the Canadian private bank market.

Maryann is part of the Transformational Philanthropy Leadership Circle at Inspired Legacies. She views volunteer service as a critical part of career/personal development and in gratitude for a fortunate life. Her major volunteer projects include the following: Karongwe Ecological Research Institute in South Africa (Feb-Mar 2003) where she served as a research assistant gathering data on African wild dogs, lions, leopards, hyenas and cheetahs; College Summit (Aug 2007) as a writing coach to inner-city teens; and Educate Girls Globally (Jan-Feb 2008), videotaping interviews with the varied partners and government officials in India. Maryann also served as a judge for the 2008 and 2009 New York University Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Program in Social Entrepreneurship.


%d bloggers like this: